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Brazil Boosts Utility Drought Relief With $5 Billion

Brazil unveiled a 12 billion-real ($5.1 billion) aid package yesterday for utilities to cope with record-high spot prices as dry weather crimps hydroelectric output.

Measures include an additional 4 billion reais from the Treasury to help distributors pay their spot-market commitments, as much as 8 billion reais in financing via the country’s electricity trading board and power auctions starting in April, Finance Minister Guido Mantega and Deputy Energy Minister Marcio Zimmermann told reporters in Brasilia. The additional Treasury subsidies will require tax increases.